Celosia argentea ‘Punky Red’ (Spicata Group)

Celosia argentea ‘Punky Red’ on 8-4-12, #113-12.

Wheat Celosia,  Wheat Straw Celosia

Celosia argentea ‘Punky Red’

se-LO-see-uh  ar-JEN-tee-uh

Synonyms of Celosia argentea (33) (Updated on 8-6-21): Amaranthus cristatus (L.) Noronha, Amaranthus huttonii H.J.Veitch, Amaranthus pyramidalis Noronha, Celosia argentea var. cristata (L.) Kuntze, Celosia argentea f. cristata (L.) Schinz, Celosia argentea var. margaritacea (L.) Iamonico, Celosia argentea var. mumbaiana M.R.Almeida, Celosia aurea T.Moore, Celosia castrensis L., Celosia cernua Roxb., Celosia cernua Andrews, Celosia coccinea L., Celosia comosa Retz., Celosia cristata L., Celosia cristata var. castrensis (L.) Iamonico, Celosia debilis S.Moore, Celosia huttonii Mast., Celosia japonica Houtt., Celosia japonica Mart., Celosia linearis Sweet ex Hook.f., Celosia margaritacea L., Celosia marylandica Retz., Celosia pallida Salisb., Celosia plumosa Barr & Sugden, Celosia purpurea J.St.-Hil., Celosia pyramidalis Burm.f., Celosia splendens Schumach. & Thonn., Celosia stricta Hornem., Celosia swinhoei Hemsl., Chamissoa margaritacea (L.) Schouw, Chamissoa stricta (Hornem.) Schouw, Lophoxera comosa (Retz.) Raf., Lophoxera racemosa Raf.

Celosia argentea L. is apparently the correct and accepted scientific name for the Cockscomb. The genus and species were both named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.

Plants of the World Oline by Kew lists 46 species in the Celosia genus (as of 8-6-21 when this page was last updated). It is a member of the plant family Amaranthaceae with 186 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.

I had been using the name Celosia argentea var. spicata for many years because I was somewhat confused. I was confused because of misinformation online. I thought Celosia spicata was the scientific name given to Celosia with “spicata” or “wheat” type flowers. I couldn’t understand why Celosia spicata (from 1807) became a synonym of Deeringia spicata. Deeringia species, also in the same family, are shrubs or sub-shrubs and Celosia spicata is an herbaceous plant. WELL, apparently, due to misinformation online, that was NOT correct… Celosia spicata, originally named Lestibudesia spicata by Louis Marie Aubert du Petit Thouars in 1807. The name was changed to Celosia spicata by Curt Polycarp Joachim Sprengel in 1824. The name was then changed to Deeringia spicata by Hans Schinz in 1934 and that is actually the current and legit accepted scientific name. They are, I think, shrubs or sub-shrubs… Not herbaceous plants…

I couldn’t understand why there was a Celosia argentea var. cristata (for cockscombs) and not Celosia argentea var. spicata for “wheat” or “spicata”. That was because original specimens of Celosia argentea were, in fact, plants with spicata-type flowers… SO, Celosia cristata, which was later changed to Celosia argentea var. cristata and f. cristata were actually determined to be “varieties” or “variants of Celosia argentea… You will find some websites (not to mention names) using the name Celosia argentea var. spicata but that is not exactly correct… That name was never validly published so any plant website should not use it… I did for many years because I was in error. You can use synonyms as long as they were validly published, such as using Celosia cristata for cultivars of cockscomb, because that name was validly published.

I sent an email to the University of North Carolina because their website is using Deeringia spicata ‘Flamingo Feather’… That is absolutely not correct… ‘Flamingo Feather’ is a cultivar of Celosia argentea. I think they got screwed up because Celosia spicata WAS an accepted name and ‘Flamingo Feather’ has spicata-type flowers. Ummm… Also, one or more of the Wikipedia paged about Celosia argentea gives The Plant List as a reference which hasn’t been maintained since 2013… It was taken over by World Flora Online but they uploaded out of date data fromThe Plant List to their site. A lot of good that did… They are supposed to upload up-to-date data from Plants of the World Online but they have not done that yet… This is why The Plant List and World Flora Online both say Celosia spicata and Deeringia spicata are both accepted scientific names… One site is unmaintained since 2013 and the other used the data from it… The Plant List was an amazing site and I could never understand why they didn’t just improve on it.

There is still confusion and disagreement about the issue with Celosia cristata and it being a synonym of Celosia argentea. There are basically three groups of Celosia argentea to separate the differences in flower types. The Cristata Group (Cockscombs), Plumosa Group (plumed-type), and the Spicata Group (spicata and wheat-type). I think it is a longstanding debate that may only be resolved when more infraspecific names (varieties, subspecies, and forms) are recognized to differentiate the different types. That’s my opinion…

Now I have to change all my captions. I may have to change the name in my folders and re-upload them all…


Celosia argentea ‘Punky Red’ at 34″ tall in the west bed at the mansion in Mississippi on 7-2-12, #106-9.

They fizzled out in the backyard for some reason, but still did very well in the bed next to the west sunroom. They grew to almost 48″ and flowered until frost.

I enjoyed growing the Celosia ‘Punky Red’ and liked their long, skinny flower spikes. Their stems were also a reddish color which was a nice contrast to their bright green leaves.

Information suggests they prefer growing in full sun, which is at least 6 hours a day. They didn’t get that much in the west bed and the ones in the full sun in the backyard fizzled out first…

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant. If you notice I made an error, please let me know.



As mentioned earlier, the Wikipedia page is still using Celosia argentea var. cristata which are now considered synonyms of Celosia argentea… Also gives reference to The Plant List which hasn’t been maintained since 2013.

Dave’s Garden lists ‘Punky Red’ as a Celosia spicata which is not correct.

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